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#Fireball - As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Royal St George pair Barry McCartin and Conor Kinsella were triumphant at the Irish Fireball Nationals on Lough Ree yesterday (14 September), needing two win only one of two races sailed on the day to claim the title after a dominant weekend. Below, Cormac Bradley gives us an extended report on all the action over the three days' sailing:

The 2014 Irish Fireball Nationals were sailed at Lough Ree Yacht Club this past Friday, Saturday and Sunday, involving nine races in very challenging conditions – not heavy duty sailing but light conditions that on a freshwater lake made picking the right way to go all the more challenging.

The forecast for the weekend was for lightish winds but on Friday we started proceedings in slightly more than 12 knots, though race officer John Leech was not convinced that the wind would stay long enough at that strength to warrant flying the 'pumping flag'. He was correct in his assumption as the wind progressively dropped off as the afternoon wore on. However, we did get three good races in.

On Saturday we were joined by the Wayfarers who were sailing a two-day Nationals with six races. On arrival at the club, what wind there was appeared to be coming from the opposite direction and was very fickle. Nevertheless, it was better than we had been expecting so both fleets took to the water for what turned out to be a long sail to the start area where we were greeted – understandably – with a postponement flag.

Four races were sailed on Saturday, the last of which saw the leading bunch stay in what breeze there was all the way round. The middle and back of the fleet weren’t so lucky in that their wind supply was temporarily reduced. This led to a very strung out fleet.

By Saturday evening, the die seemed to be cast as far as the overall 1-2-3 was concerned and had this been a betting event, the bookies’ money would have been safe. The predicted and usual suspects were at the head of the fleet – McCartin and Kinsella, Butler and Oram and Rumball and Bradley (Finn). McCartin had a four-point cushion on Butler, who had a point on Rumball, so the real action on Sunday would be between Butler and Rumball for the secondary placings on the podium. Could/would McCartin stuff it up?

Sunday appeared to give better breeze initially after a one-hour postponement posted the evening before – John Leech using his knowledge of the venue to very good effect. Yes there was trapezing to be had but it was an on-and-off exercise.

Race 8 got off cleanly with McCartin initially further back than he would have wanted but ultimately coming back to take the race win and therefore the regatta. Rumball finished second and with McGrotty getting into third to Butler’s fourth, Rumball now had the one-point advantage.

An impeccably behaved fleet then went 'off the radar' for the final race of the regatta with three attempts at a start before we got away. First the 'I' flag came out, then we had two starts under the 'U' flag regime. The suggestion post the race was that the leading three were involved in mind games, providing great entertainment for the committee boat crew.

Having secured the overall win, McCartin donned the trapeze harness to allow Kinsella an opportunity to drive. However, by the second leeward mark, after a modest transgression of the 'water at the mark' rule, they retired ashore for an early celebratory shower.

On the water, Rumball and Bradley stormed away to a very convincing win while Neil Colin and Margaret Casey 'slummed it with the upper echelons' by recording a second place, following another 'trek' to the right hand side of the course. (Their first had resulted in a win on the Saturday.) Butler and Oram finished third.

This was the penultimate event of the Irish Fireball Regatta season. In three weeks’ time we sail our final event of the season, the Leinsters out of the National Yacht Club, sharing with the Flying Fifteens. The AGM of the Class will take place on the Saturday night of this event.

The weekend before, on Saturday 27 September, Dublin Bay Sailing Club celebrates its 130th year of operation with a dinner in the National Yacht Club. As a member Class of DBSC, Irish Fireballers are encouraged to attend.

Irish Fireball Nationals 2014

Overall Results:
1 Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsella (RStGYC; IRL 15114)
2 Kenneth Rumball & Finn Bradley (INSC; IRL 15058)
3 Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (NYC/DMYC; IRL 15061)

Silver Fleet:
1 Mary Chambers & Brenda McGuire (DMYC; IRL 14865)
2 Pat O’Neill & Tiarnan Dickson (CYBC/LRYC; IRL 14849)

Classic Trophy:
Owen Clarkin & Tim (CYBC: IRL 14244)

Published in Fireball

#fireball – Four races were sailed at the Irish Fireball Nationals on Lough Ree today in light conditions and as usual when it goes light, not to everyone's satisfaction writes Cormac Bradley.
The day's honours go to Kenneth Rumball & Finn Bradley (15058) with a 3, 3, 1, 1 day. This leaves them in third place overall, a point behind Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (15061) who had a 5, 2, 2, 2 day. In the front of the fleet are Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsella (15114) who were a little off the pace, by their standards, and scored a 7, 1, 3, 3. With the first discard kicking in their points cushion is 4.
For the rest of the fleet the most encouraging result of the day was the win in the first race by Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (14775). They hit the biggest right hand corner I have seen for some time and rounded the top mark with a huge lead that they extended during the race.
The perennial debate of sailing four races to try and get the full suite completed tomorrow raised its head again. Do you persist with races in light conditions or sail three and run out of time tomorrow to get in the third race of the day. Who'd be a Race Officer?

In fourth place overall is Team Clancy, Conor & James (14807) who scored 2, 5, 7, 4 today. This gives them a 3 point cushion on Niall McGrotty & Neil Cramer (14938) who, as usual, are sailing very consistently (3, 7, 2, 4, 4, 5). There is then a huge 14 point jump to 6th overall where we find Colin & Casey (37pts). 7th place is filled by the father and son combination of Michael & James Murphy (14908) (38pts), 8th goes to the all-lady team of Louise McKenna & Hermine O'Keeffe (45pts), 9th to Louis Smyth & Cormac Bradley (15007) (51pts) and the top ten is closed out by Mick Creighton & Hugh Johnson (14698) (55pts).
Sunday will see two races attempted to give the Fireballs a 9-race series and the prospect of a second discard.
Cormac.

Published in Fireball
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#RNLI - A busy weekend for the volunteer crew with Lough Ree RNLI began on Friday evening 25 July when the lifeboat launched at 6.30pm for a cruiser with engine problems near marker no 9 north of the Quaker Island.

When the lifeboat arrived on scene it found the 34-foot cruiser was at anchor. There were two adults on board and the engine had overheated.

The casualty vessel was towed to Ballyleague and the lifeboat was back on station and ready for service at 8.40pm.

Lough Ree's lifeboat next launched at 7.22am on Saturday morning for a cruiser aground near the Black Islands.

On arriving on scene the lifeboat crew found two adults and four children on board. They were taken on board the lifeboat and dropped off at Quigley's Marina, while a rescue boat later arrived on scene to take care of the cruiser.

The lifeboat crew had just left the station when another call out was received at 9.52am for a cruiser aground off Inch McDermott.

There were six people on board the cruiser, which was eased off the rocks by the lifeboat. The cruiser was then able to proceed under her own power.

At 6.55pm the same day, a callout was received for a large cruiser aground on the Hexagon Shoal with three adults and three children on board.

One female adult and the three children were transferred to the Lough Ree Yacht Club safety RIB, which had been standing by the casualty, and taken to Hudson Bay.

The cruiser was found to be taking water and the lifeboat returned to base to get pumping equipment. The casualty was pumped and towed to Quigley's Marina. The lifeboat was back on station and on standby at 8.50pm.

Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat operations manager Damien Delaney said of the busy weekend: "The recent spell of good weather has brought large numbers of people to the water, many for the first time in years, and this, coupled with the low levels in the river and lake, makes extra attention to the markers and navigation channels necessary."

All this activity comes in advance of the news that the current lifeboat on station at Lough Ree, Dorothy Mary B728, which has been in service since the station began operations over two years ago, is to be replaced.

Dorothy Mary was commissioned in 1996 and has now reached her retirement age. She will be leaving the station this coming week.

Her replacement is to be the Eric Rowse B772, which was commissioned in 2000. She previously served at the St Catherine station in Jersey from 2001 to 2010, when she joined the reserve fleet.

She is the same class of lifeboat as Dorothy Mary, an Atlantic 75, and is due to arrive in the coming days.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Lough Ree RNLI aided 10 people in two separate callouts over the weekend.

The first call came just before 7pm on Saturday (12 July) following a report that two craft vessels had ran aground on the east shore of Inch McDermott. The volunteer crew launched their inshore lifeboat within minutes at 7.06pm.

At the scene, the crew discovered that a 30ft cruiser with two adults on board has suffered engine problems and had drifted ashore. 

Meanwhile, a passing 80ft barge with four adults on board that had attempted to give assistance went aground herself.

The lifeboat eased the cruiser off the rocks and gave her into the care of a passing cruiser that had stopped to provide any assistance, before towing the barge back into deeper water.

Thankfully the barge had not suffered any damage and was able to tow the cruiser to Ballyleague. The lifeboat crew extended thanks to the crew of the cruiser Enchantress for their assistance.

The lifeboat crew was called upon for a second time at 4.42pm on Sunday afternoon (13 July) when a cruiser ran aground in the same area.

On scene a 33ft cruiser had grounded with four adults on board. The craft was eased back into deeper water and, after checking for damage, she was able to proceed on her journey.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#Lifeboats - Lough Ree RNLI assisted seven people whose vessels got into difficulty in two separate callouts over the weekend.

The volunteer crew was first requested to launch their inshore lifeboat at 6.20pm on Saturday 5 July following a report that a cruiser was experiencing engine problems off Goat Island.

  1. The crew responded and went to the assistance of three people on board the 30ft craft. The lifeboat towed the casualty to Ballyleague Marina, returning at 9.20pm.

The lifeboat had a second callout on Sunday 6 July at 6.57pm, this time to assist a yacht with a failed engine off the north end of Nun's Island.

The lifeboat launched at 7.08pm and towed the craft to Hodson Bay. There were two adults and two children on board.

Meanwhile, Lough Ree RNLI recently held its open day at the lifeboat station, during which it welcomed Junior Cert student Liam Chartan from Athlone Community College.

Chartan had been given a project for his exams based on a theme entitled 'My Inspiration' and chose the RNLI, and Lough Ree Lifeboat Station, in particular, as his inspiration – as he lives only a ‘shout’ away from the station and has been inspired by the crew's activities since they commenced two years ago.

Chartan designed his project around a miniature replica of the lifeboat, the Dorothy Mary, and a pedestal with the instantly recognisable RNLI motif.

"When Liam returns from his holidays we hope to have him back to the station to observe a full training exercise," said Liam Sherringham, Lough Ree RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer.

"We hope he is surely headed for a volunteer crew role in the future, and we wish him well with his exam results."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Wexford RNLI came to the rescue of a woman who sustained a leg injury off the Point of Park yesterday (Friday 20 June).

The lifeboat launched at 11.44am and was on scene at 11.47am. Volunteer lifeboat crew member Matt Crispin, who is also an advanced paramedic, administered first aid on the lifeboat.

The woman was then brought to Wexford lifeboat station before being transferred to a HSE ambulance and taken to Wexford General Hospital.

  1. RNLI helm David Maguire commented on the skills of the volunteer lifeboat crew: "With an advanced paramedic and three advanced first aid crew on board, the woman was in safe hands."

Crew on the call-out included helm David Maguire, Matt Crispin, Frank O'Brien and Martin Conway.

Elsewhere, it was a busy Thursday evening for Lough Ree RNLI on 19 June when they received three lifeboat callouts in succession.

The first call for help was made at 4.25pm by a sailing boat standing by a cruiser on the rocks on the Long Shoal. The Lough Ree lifeboat was launched at 4.33pm and was on scene 10 minutes later.

The casualty was a 38ft cruiser with two adults and three children on board. The cruiser was refloated and checked over. There was no damage and she continued on passage with two other craft in convoy.

The volunteer crew had just finished preparing the Dorothy Mary for continued service when another call-out was received at 5.20pm by the Irish Coast Guard for a cruiser aground in Blackbrink Bay.

The lifeboat was launched at 5.23pm and was on scene at 5.39pm. This time the casualty was a 32ft cruiser with five adults on board. She was refloated and examined and was able to continue her journey.

A third and final callout was received at 7.25pm, and concerned a speedboat with two adults and three children on board that had broken down while crossing the lake from Hodson Bay.

The lifeboat was launched at 7.30pm and was on scene 15 minutes later. One adult and the three children were taken on board the Dorothy Mary, which then towed the casualty, and the remaining adult, back to Hodson Bay, departing the scene at 8.21pm.

After dropping the speedboat and her party, the lifeboat crew carried out a training exercise that had been planned for that evening, arriving back at the station at 9.20pm.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Lough Ree RNLI in Co Westmeath came to the aid of four people yesterday afternoon (Monday 19 May) after their cruiser got into difficulty.

The volunteer lifeboat crew was requested to launch shortly before 3.30pm following a report that a cruiser was aground on Hexagon Shoal in Lough Ree. 

The boat, with two men and two women on board, was holed below waterline and was taking on water.

At the scene, the four people and their baggage were taken off the cruiser and transferred to the lifeboat by Lough Ree RNLI. They were then brought safely to the lifeboat station.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#mothtour – The Irish Moth fleet planned a weekend away in Lough Ree for our third ever event! Ronan Wallace (moth newbie) and myself (Annalise) arrived down to Quigley's Marina in Killinure early on Friday afternoon which gave us time to set up our boats before easily launching off the pontoon (staying nice and dry!) and heading out into the main lake for a great sail up and down to Hudson Bay 2 or 3 times! By the time we got in Ryan Seaton had arrived guided by his tomtom on the scenic route from Belfast to Athlone and John Chambers arrived not to soon after! Both told stories of passers by asking what kind of airplane was on the roof of their cars! We all headed to Glasson Golf Club for dinner before going back to the Killinure Chalets where we had taken up residence in the 17 man house!

The sailing weekend was organised by Cathy MacAleavey and it was for both the most modern and ancient of classes; the Moths and Water Wags! Based from Quigleys Marina in Glasson, the event included a round of golf on Friday afternoon and dinner afterwards at the Glasson Country House Hotel and Golf Club and was supported by Lough Ree YC and the National YC who each supplied support ribs.

The next morning we all got rigged and changed, then had a short briefing where Con told us the plan for the day! The idea was to do 3 races off the marina before racing downwind to The Wineport Lodge for lunch, followed by another 3 races in front of the Wineport then a race home! After one rather traumatic race where nearly everyone manage to crash into each other or the rushes at some point we headed off downwind to the Wineport which turned out to be a real adventure sailing through small cuts and around islands! Once we arrived down to the area in front of the Wineport, we did another 2 races, Rory was in good form so far winning 3 out of 3!

We then headed in to the Wineport Lodge for lunch. We were treated like kings, and had an amazing selection of soup, sandwiches, chicken wings and chips all while in our wetsuits! After possibly a sandwich or five too many we headed back out on the water, Ryan and I now regretted our decision to park our boats in the forest as getting out through the thick reeds proved to be extremely difficult, after 15 minutes of swimming while towing my boat in the extremely chilly Lough Ree water I was back on the race course, Ryan however ended up abandoning this tactic and carried his boat around to the jetty at the Wineport!

Back for more racing and it had got a bit more patchy so looking for wind was what proved to be important (and not capsizing). In race 4 Rory crashed out meters from the finish line and watched Ryan, myself and John all speed by him. Race 5 was Ryan's race finishing close to a leg ahead of the rest of us! Race 6 was a quick upwind to the windward mark then a fast reach across to the cut then a 20 tack upwind back to Quigley's Marina. Rory, Ryan and I all managed to get through the cut in the rushes foiling and we then met up with Gavin who had chosen the more sensible route home! It was then a battle of fitness and boat handling all the way back to the marina. John and Ronan unfortunately hit a lull as they raced through the cut and spent quite a bit of time stuck in the rushes.

"what kind of airplane was on the roof of the car!"

After an exhausting day 1, moth newbie Neil O'Toole had a quick blast in John's boat before we all headed to the Killinure Chalets Pub for dinner. A mix of T-bone steaks and giant crispy ducks came out so we were all very well fed at the end of a long day!

Sunday started off looking like a nice medium day but by the time we were launching it was up to 20knots gusting 25 sometimes, so Con made the call to race us just of Quigley's marina again! All 7 of us got out on the water after Gavin fixed his main foil and Neil got his boat sorted too. In some of the gusts downwind we were hitting 25-28 knots and trying to turn up at that speed is extremely difficult but luckily we had a good incentive to get the turn ups right as if we didn't we would crash into the reeds at the side of the lake! Race 7, race 8 and race 9 were won by Rory with Ryan and John taking second in one each. Ronan and me were busy trying to get around the leeward mark in both these races! In the last race of the day Rory and I were neck and neck all the way around and after an out of control round up I managed to get just ahead of him to win by a boat length!

Rory retained the teapot trophy, with Ryan in second, John and Annalise finished on equal points and then Ronan, Gavin and Neil. We all had a great weekend and would like to thank Quigley's marina for letting us launch from there, The Killinure Chalets for the great house, The Wineport Lodge for the amazing lunch and letting us sit inside their restaurant in our wetsuits! The Wag class for showing us they are definitely the class who has the most craic! But particularily to Con for being OOD and Eddie and Dara for helping out on the committee boat! Clara for the photos and not getting irate over the amount of carbon chat that happened at the weekend, and last but not least Cathy for organizing everything! It really was a brilliant weekend!

Published in Moth

#LoughRee - A body has been found in the search for a Northern Irish angler missing for more than two weeks in Lough Ree, according to TheJournal.ie.

As reported four days ago on Afloat.ie, Daryl Burke had not been seen since the boat he was travelling in with two angling colleagues David Warnock and John Trimble overturned not far from Hodson Bay outside Athlone, Co Westmeath on the afternoon of 20 March.

Warnock and Trimble were rescued in the emergency operation that launched immediately after the incident, but Warnock died in hospital some hours later.

This week the search for Burke was concentrated on the area where the trio's boat was recovered undamaged.

And it's now being reported that a diving team from Boyne Fishermen's Rescue and Recovery Service discovered a body in a part of the lough known as The Wall yesterday afternoon (Saturday 5 April).

TheJournal.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
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#LoughRee - Belfast's News Letter reports that the boat carrying three anglers that capsized in Lough Ree nearly two weeks ago has been recovered as the search continues for one of the party.

Daryl Burke has not been seen since the boat he was travelling in with angling colleagues David Warnock and John Trimble overturned not far from Hodson Bay outside Athlone, Co Westmeath on the afternoon of 20 March.

An eyewitness to the incident told of a "freak accident" as the three friends' boat fell victim to a sudden squall on the lough amid conditions described as "nasty" but "not particularly wild".

Warnock, 27, and Trimble, 60, were rescued from the water after an emergency operation was immediately launched. Trimble is now in recovery, but Warnock died in hospital some hours after the incident.

It's being reported that Naval Service and Garda divers are concentrating their search for Burke on the area where the boat - a 12m open-hulled vessel with an outboard motor - was recovered undamaged.

The News Letter has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
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